Today in Worcester hockey history: March 25


1999 at Saint John 5-4 loss
(SAINT JOHN) Worcester coach Greg Gilbert warned the IceCats to expect some fire from the Saint John Flames. The IceCats promptly went out and tossed some gasoline on those Flames. Just 48 hours after being bombed, 10-2, at home by the Fredericton Canadiens, the Flames charged to a 4-0 lead and withstood a late Worcester rally for an eventual 5-4 victory last night. It was a crippling setback for Worcester, which is fighting for its playoff life in the New England Division. With the setback, the IceCats remain last, two points behind idle New Haven and Springfield, in the race for a postseason berth. Travis Brigley staked the Flames to a 2-0 first-period lead, firing both his shots high on IceCats goaltender Rich Parent. It was the first time this season Brigley has scored two goals in a game. Brigley’s pair had support from rambunctious Allan Egeland, Sean Berens and Jeff Cowan as the Flames supplied all their offense through the first 40 minutes. Former Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Lee Sorochan made his debut for Saint John and had a pair of assists as the Flames snapped a two-game losing skid. Tyson Nash, Bryan Helmer, Stephane Roy and Bryce Salvador responded for the IceCats. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, yanked in the first period of his last start, was sharper against the IceCats, particularly in the first period when he stopped a dozen shots. Giguere was beaten by Roy and Salvador on third-period power plays as Worcester made it interesting down the stretch. Salvador’s goal came with 1:45 left in the third, but the IceCats were unable to net the equalizer. Worecster outshot the Flames, 12-3, in the third period and 41-32 overall. The hard-luck Flames got a break in the second to forge a 3-0 lead, compliments of Egeland and a fortuitous bounce. Setting up shop behind the Worcester net, Egeland’s slot pass banked off Shayne Toporowski’s skate, flipped up in the air and over Parent, who had no idea where the puck was until he heard the crowd roar. Berens tipped one past Parent for a 4-0 lead after Nash’s 10th goal of the season got the IceCats on the board. However, Cowan regained Saint John’s four-goal cushion on a nice individual effort, charging off the boards and crashing the crease before slipping the puck home. Helmer scored on a slapshot from the blue line in the second to make it 5-2. Roy then cashed in on a power play, scoring 74 seconds into the third to pull the ‘Cats within two. Salvador’s goal came off a broken play in the dying minutes when the puck deflected to him at the point and his shot skipped through Giguere’s legs. Worcester pulled Parent with 63 seconds to play, but didn’t sustain any pressure while pushing for the equalizer.

2000 at Hartford 4-0 loss
(TICKER) Milan Hnilicka turned aside 44 shots to register his fourth shutout of the season as the Hartford Wolf Pack blanked the Worcester Ice Cats, 4-0. Hnilicka had 21 saves in the first period and 16 in the third to improve to 20-10-0. Ken Gernander scored a pair of power-play goals and Brad Smyth added a goal and an assist for Hartford, which has won eight of its last nine decisions (8-1-0). Brent Johnson had his record evened at 22-22-5 after surrendering all four goals for Worcester, which slipped to 3-6-1 vs. the Wolf Pack.

2001 at Saint John 0-0 tie
(TICKER) Dwayne Roloson stopped 35 shots and Martin Brochu made 29 saves as the Worcester IceCats and Saint John Flames skated to a scoreless tie. Roloson, who made 25 of his saves over the first two periods, was credited with his fifth shutout of the season for Worcester, which is 6-2-2 over its last 10 games. Brochu picked up his second shutout of the season for Saint John, which has managed one goal or fewer in three of its four meetings with the IceCats this season.

2005 at Providence 4-1 loss
The Worcester IceCats allowed two first period goals and never made those up in a 4-1 loss to the Providence Bruins. Andy Hilbert gave the Baby-Bs the lead at 2:44 of the opening period, and Tomas Kurka made it 2-0 at 9:34. Colin Hemingway cut the P-Bruins lead in half 1:05 into the middle stanza, with assists going to Aaron MacKenzie and Jon DiSalvatore, but that would be the only time the ‘Cats beat Providence netminder Hannu Toivonen. Patrice Bergeron made it 3-1 with a goal at 13:15 of the third period, and Jay Henderson had the last tally of the game at 15:51. Curtis Sanford made just two saves on the four shots he faced before being replaced by Jason Bacashihua, who made 23 saves.

2011 vs Providence 4-2 loss
(WORSHARKS) Providence played spoiler in Worcester on Friday night as they defeated the Sharks, 4-2, in front of a sellout crowd at the DCU Center. Worcester trails the Whale for the 3rd and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Atlantic Division by six points with 8 games remaining. Benn Ferriero and Patrick Davis scored for the Sharks while Harri Sateri made 20 saves in the losing effort. The first period went back and forth as both teams combined for four goals. Trent Whitfield (15th) would extend his point streak to ten games and got Providence on the board first as he one timed a pass from Kirk MacDonald at 6:07. Worcester tied it up on a goal from Patrick Davis (6th) as he re-directed a point shot from Matt Irwin. Just 0:27 later, the Bruins would again take the lead. Jamie Arniel (20th) finished a 2-on-1 rush as he wristed a shot past Harri Sateri. Benn Ferriero(16th) tied it up late as he rushed down the left side boards and slid the puck five hole past Anton Khudobin. Worcester continued to outshoot the Bruins in the second but couldn’t put one past Anton Khudobin. Trent Whitfield (2nd of game, 16th) put Providence in the lead for the third time as he buried a shot from the left circle to finish a 3-on-2 rush for the Bruins. Worcester trailed 3-2 heading into the third period. Providence pulled away in the third period as the Bruins sealed the victory with a tight defensive period. The Sharks offense was held to the perimeter and couldn’t manufacture many scoring chances. The Bruins put a cap on the win with an empty net goal by Kirk McDonald to put Providence up 4-2. The Sharks record falls to 33-27-4-8 with 78 points. Worcester has 8 games remaining on their 80 game AHL regular season schedule (5 home, 3 away)

2012 at Manchester 5-1 loss
(WORSHARKS) Justin Azevedo scored twice including a shorthanded goal and assisted on two others as the Monarchs frustrated the Sharks with a 5-1 win at the Verizon Wireless Arena. John McCarthy extended his point streak to five game for Worcester (3-3-6) with his team leading 18th goal in the loss. The Sharks had a good flurry in the first few minutes but never really tested Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff during the first period. Harri Sateri was able to stone leading scorer Justin Azevedo on a rush down the right wing but Azevedo notched his 23rd goal of the season at the 17:22 mark to put Manchester up 1-0. Shots were 11-10 in favor of the Monarchs after 20 minutes. In the second period, Manchester struck again at the 9:23 mark as Brandon Kozun (19th) cleaned up a net mouth scramble to put the Monarchs up 2-0. John McCarthy (18th) answered for the Sharks at 10:57 as he beat Zatkoff high blocker from the right wing to cut the deficit in half. Special teams doomed the Sharks the remainder of the period as David Meckler (9th) tipped in an Azevedo shot on the power play and Azevedo (24th) beat Harri Sateri on a shorthanded breakaway to give the Monarchs a 4-1 lead at the end of 40 minutes. Sharks held a 22-21 edge in shots. With Nick Petrecki in the box the Monarchs extended their lead as Azevedo fed Stefan Legein (13th) in the slot and he fired a one timer past Sateri at 7:52. Manchester tightened up defensively in the 3rd as they allowed the Sharks to put only six shots on goal in the final frame. Worcester’s record falls to 28-26-4-7, with 67pts and currently in 11th place in the Eastern Conference with 11 games remaining.

2022 at Adirondack 5-1 win
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (28-25-4-2, 62pts) beat the Adirondack Thunder (25-33-2-0, 52pts) on Friday night by the final score of 5-1 in front of a crowd of 3, 320 at Cool Insuring Arena. The Railers are back in Glens Falls at Cool Insuring Arena on Saturday, March 26th to take on the Adirondack Thunder at 7:00 p.m. Worcester fell behind midway through the period when the Thunder were able to clean up a puck in front of the net, but Mitchell Balmas (2-1-3) from Bobby Butler (2-2-4) tied things up at 1-1. It was a back-and-forth second period up until the very end of the frame, where two up ice rushes were capped off with goals for the Railers from Balmas and Anthony Repaci (1-0-1) to put the Railers ahead 3-1 going into the third. The former Olympian Butler broke through in the third as Myles McGurty (0-1-1) set him up to make it a 4-1 Worcester lead. Butler would pot his second of the night on an empty netter, as the Railers held on to win 5-1 over Adirondack. Shots in the game were even at 37 apiece. The Railers were buzzing early, outshooting Adirondack 12-4 just midway through the first period. The Thunder would strike first however, as Pete MacArthur (8th) picked up a rebound off of the pads of Ken Appleby and went around the former member of the Thunder to tuck it in and give Adirondack the 1-0 lead. Then, in only his second road game of the season, Bobby Butler sent a centering feed from the near corner to Mitchell Balmas (4th) in front who ripped it home past Brandon Kasel to tie the game 1-1 going into the intermission. The Railers had two power play opportunities but couldn’t convert on either look. Worcester outshot Adirondack 17-8 in the frame. In the second, Adirondack was able to get into more of a rhythm. They held a lead in zone time possession, keeping the Railers on their heels for a majority of the period. Worcester went on the penalty kill twice in the frame as Max Newton and Butler each went to the box one after another. The penalty kill held strong for Worcester, as it has the past few weeks to keep the game tied 1-1. Worcester then got a power play chance of their own as Tyler Irvine went to the box for Holding. They had a few chances on the man-advantage, but nothing was able to connect as the game remained tied. Then, with just a minute to go in the period, Balmas (5th) broke through the Adirondack defense and ripped a shot home off of the right leg of Kasel in net as he recorded his second of the game and put Worcester up 2-1. Anthony Repaci (19th) just 31 seconds later received a cross-ice feed from Nolan Vesey and wristed the puck past Kasel, putting Worcester up 3-1 going into the second intermission. Worcester was outshot 15-11 in the second, but were still outshooting the Thunder 28-23 through two periods. It was the Marlborough native, Bobby Butler (3rd) who got on the board in the third period. Butler was parked in the slot when Railers Defenseman Myles McGurty found him from the far corner, enabling Butler to beat Kasel blocker side to push the Worcester lead to 4-1. With the goal, Butler was up to three points on the night as he assisted on both of Balmas’ goals as well. With three minutes remaining in regulation, the Thunder would pull Kasel for the extra attacker to try to make up the three-goal deficit which faced them. Butler would end up finding the back of the empty net for his second goal of the period and fourth point of the night, giving the game its final score of 5-1. Shots in the period were in favor of Adirondack 14-9, and were tied at the end of the game at 37 apiece. Notes: Three Stars: 3rd Star: Ken Appleby (36 saves, 1GA, .973 SV%), 2nd Star: Mitchell Balmas (2-1-3, +4, 4 shots), 1st Star: Bobby Butler (2-2-4, +4, 5 shots)… Final shots were tied 37-37… Brandon Kasel (7-14-0) made 32 saves on 36 shots for Adirondack… Ken Appleby (11-10-1) made 36 saves on 37 shots for Worcester, while Colten Ellis served as the backup… Worcester went 0-for-3 on the power play while Adirondack went 0-for-3… Liam Coughlin (IR), Felix Bibeau (IR), Chris Ordoobadi (IR), Grant Jozefek (IR), Blake Christensen (INJ), Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman (INJ), and Ethan Price (DNP) Bobby Butler led the Railers in shots with 5… The Railers are now 28-15-2-0 all-time vs. the Thunder and 15-7-1-0 at Cool Insuring Arena against Adirondack.

2023 at Adirondack 2-1 loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers HC (32-30-3-0, 67pts) lost to the Adirondack Thunder (27-26-8-2, 64pts) on Saturday night by the final score of 2-1 in front of a crowd of 5,029 at Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, NY. The Railers are back in Worcester, MA at the DCU Center this Wednesday, March 29th to take on the Trois-Rivieres Lions at 7:05 p.m.
The two teams drew to an even 0-0 score after the first period, with Worcester outshooting the Thunder 13-9. The Railers had the only power play opportunity of the period thanks to a delay of game call against Adirondack’s Matt Slick, but nothing came of it. Patrick Grasso (1-0-1) broke the stalemate 1:41 into the second before Reece Newkirk (1-0-1) would tie the game 11:31 later. Shawn Weller (1-0-1) scored the game-winner 1:01 into the third period on the power play, as Adirondack held off Worcester for the rest of the game to win 2-1. Worcester played their best period of hockey all week long to open the final game of a three-game set between the Railers and Thunder. Worcester took the first nine shots of the game before Adirondack finally got one off on Railers goaltender Ken Appleby. Jake Theut was making his third start in net on the week against Worcester, having gone 2-0 already through Wednesday & Friday. Both goalies stood tall for the opening period of play as Worcester and Adirondack were tied after one, 0-0. Shots favored Worcester 13-9 through 20 minutes. The stalemate would be broken on Adirondack’s first shot of the second period. Patrick Grasso (31st) got in the way of a Worcester slapshot from the point and ran in the other direction with the puck unopposed. Grasso, who had netted a hat-trick the night prior in the Thunder’s 4-1 win over Worcester, struck again as he beat Appleby and opened the scoring 1-0, 1:41 into the second period. It was the third game that week in which Adirondack had scored the first goal. Worcester would retaliate thanks to the efforts of Reece Newkirk (17th), who is now in his second stint with the Railers this season after being called up to Bridgeport mid-way through the month of February. The play started with Jared Brandt flipping the puck into the Adirondack zone off glass. Worcester captain Bobby Butler charged in and reached the puck first, then flipped it to a patient Newkirk in the slot. Newkirk unloaded on Theut who couldn’t stop it, and it became a tie game 11:31 after the Thunder had jumped in front, 1-1. The second came to an end all tied up as Worcester continued to outshoot Adirondack 13-8 in the period, and 26-17 for the game. The Thunder would once again score on their first shot of the period come the third. On the power-play thanks to an early tripping call against Worcester, Adirondack’s Shawn Weller (11th) was parked out in front as he helped to move the puck past Appleby off a shot from the center point to make it a 2-1 Thunder lead just 61 seconds into the third period. Worcester continued to pour on offensive chances late into the game, including a flurry of opportunity with Appleby pulled with 1:48 remaining, but the Thunder kept the door shut as they beat the Railers in regulation 2-1 on Saturday evening. Notes: Three Stars: 3rd Star: Shawn Weller (1-0-1, 2 shots, GWG), 2nd Star: Jake Theut (33 saves, 1 GA, .971 SV%), 1st Star: Patrick Grasso (1-0-1, +1, 5 shots)… Final shots were 34-26 in favor of Worcester… Jake Thuet made 33 saves on 34 shots for the Thunder… Ken Appleby (12-11-1) made 24 saves on 26 shots for Worcester, while Henrik Tikkanen served as the backup… Worcester went 0-for-3 on the power play while Adirondack went 1-for-3… Chris Ordoobadi (DNP), Josh Victor (DNP), Billy Jerry (DNP), Quinn Ryan (IR), Jack Quinlivan (IR), Christian Evers (IR), and Max Johnson (IR) did not play for Worcester… Jacob Hayhurst led the Railers in shots with 6… The Railers are now 35-22-2-0 all-time vs. the Thunder and 19-13-1-0 at Cool Insuring Arena against Adirondack.


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